MDHS LGBTIQ+ Health: Interdisciplinary and Interprofessional Student Forum

The LGBTIQ+ Health Forum is going ahead on 3 July 2021 however has been moved to an online-only format due to COVID-19 changes.


Animation by Carmody Forbes, 2020.

The Forum is an exciting opportunity for students in the MDHS faculty to come together and learn practical skills in working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gender diverse, intersex, queer and asexual (LGBTIQA+) communities.

Delivered online across a one-day program on Saturday 3 July 2021, the Forum aims to provide emerging health practitioners, researchers, clinicians and professionals with key skills, knowledge, and awareness of LGBTIQA+ health issues and disparities. Participants will have the opportunity to work with community members to hone clinical skills and learn about safe and inclusive practice in a supported learning environment.

The Forum is being co-designed by students and community across all schools under the Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences Faculty.


This event is guided by principles of Indigenous cultural safety and cultural humility. This means Indigenous cultural values are respected, and non-Indigenous people are aware of their own cultural values, beliefs, attitudes and outlooks that consciously or unconsciously affect their behaviours. In a health context, this is of utmost importance.

A quick read of cultural safety in health care is here and an additional academic reading on Indigenous LGBTIQ+SB people's experiences of health care is here. You can also visit Black Rainbow for information on community advocacy, and watch the 2021 Wominjeka here. These are only a few examples, so we encourage participants to spend some time thinking and reading about cultural safety prior to this event if they have not done so previously.

Further resources for review are located below.

Forum Schedule

Saturday 3 July 2021

Keynote Speaker: Nevo Zisin

Nevo is a queer, non-binary, Jewish writer, performer, activist and public speaker based in Naarm/Birraranga/Melbourne. They are a youth leader, running workshops in schools and workplaces with a particular focus on issues surrounding gender, sex, culture and sexuality. Nevo is the author of award-winning Finding Nevo (2017), a memoir on gender transition and The Pronoun Lowdown (2021) a useful guidebook on all things related to pronouns. They recently starred in Gender Euphoria, playing “gender whisperer” who delights in confounding categories.

Saturday 3 July 2021

Workshop 1: Communication Skills: Pronouns and Inclusive Language

In this small-group workshop, we will introduce ourselves to each other and take the opportunity to practice inclusive language through an activity. For more information on what inclusive language looks, sounds and feels like for LGBTIQ+ people broadly, you can visit the 'How to be a good LGBTIQ+ ally' resource developed by the University's Pride in Action Committee.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Apply  ideas and concepts raised by Nevo to a disciplinary context
2. Increase student confidence to use inclusive language in their practice/research
3. Situate reflexive practice as a key way to build networks and create safe spaces

Saturday 3 July 2021


Saturday 3 July 2021

Workshop 2: Building Inclusive Health Care in Practice

In our second small-group workshop, we will be tasked with setting up a new clinic or research project that is targeted towards supporting LGBTIQ+ folk in Victoria. We will think about the elements that need to be considered at a systematic level, such as how best to engage community stakeholders and evaluate our program of work while taking account of intersecting identities and health care needs. For an example and some background on the topic, you might like to visit the Equinox website here

Learning Outcomes:
1. Understand how research and services build inclusive care systems in practice and through evidence
2. Build reflexivity in developing inclusive health care and research from the ground up
3. Acknowledge accountability of providers and researchers to consider intersectional experiences

Saturday 3 July 2021

Workshop 3: Case Studies and Building Affirming Health Care Plans (Intersectionality and Awareness)

In our third small-group workshop, we will be looking more closely at interprofessional practice through case studies which ask us to consider the experiences of LGBTIQ+ folk in health care and research settings. Some reading you might like to do on this topic includes a 2017 journal article by Braun et al. called 'The LGBTQI health forum: an innovative interprofessional initiative to support curriculum reform'

Learning Outcomes:
1. Apply concepts of safety, inclusive language and care to working and research practices
2. Critically appraise a case study as part of a multidisciplinary team
3. Broaden knowledge of LGBTIQ+ health care and health research in practical terms

Saturday 3 July 2021


Saturday 3 July 2021

Plenary Session: LGBTIQ+ Lived Experiences of Inclusive Health Care

In this session, you will hear from LGBTIQ+ health practitioners, researchers, community members, advocates and activists. The panel will be facilitated by the organisers and there will be opportunities to ask questions of experts in the field of LGBTIQ+ health, affirming care, inclusive research techniques and community building.

Details of the plenary session will be posted here closer to the event.

Saturday 3 July 2021

Workshop 4: Your Style of Communication

Following the plenary session, you will have the opportunity to work with the experts on developing your own style of communication as it relates to LGBTIQ+ inclusion, and within a broader context of equity. This work should not have a cookie-cutter approach and so this session is about your own personality coming through in the way you engage in research and health care.

In this last small-group workshop, you will be asked to think about interprofessional and intersectional practice, advocating for patients, clients, research participants and acknowledging boundaries between these individuals and groups.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Refine communication skills
2. Advance reflexive considerations of the needs of patients, clients and participants across the health care system

  • About Us

    Dr Asiel Adan Sanchez is a GP with an approach to diversity that is very much grounded in a human-rights framework. They have a quiet determination to change attitudes and breakdown barriers that prevent people from engaging in healthcare systems. Find out more about Asiel here

    Dr Megan Sharp is the MDHS Faculty Research Fellow for Diversity and Inclusion who has spent the last 10 years researching in the fields of queer health, leisure, work and music. Megan is a sociologist who is primarily concerned with interrogating structural and systematic inequities - and then breaking them down in individual ways. You can read more about Megan's work here

  • About The Project


    This program aims to provide emerging health practitioners with foundational skills, knowledge and awareness of LGBTIQ+ health issues and disparities. The program is a one-day forum, co-designed by students from across MDHS in collaboration with key Faculty staff, delivered by LGBTIQ+ community partners and formally recognised through a completion certificate.


    Teaching student health practitioners lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) inclusion is complicated. Not least because the status of consistent reporting of health disparities among this population is fragmented across academic, government and community organisations (Haider et al. 2017). A 2017 survey of medical school curriculum administrators in Australia and New Zealand indicated most (60%) of medical schools dedicated 0-5 hours to LGBTIQ+ health in pre-clinical years. Most of this content focused on same-sex sexual activity (80%), with half of respondents (47%) being unsure whether trans and gender diverse was covered in their curricula (Adan Sanchez et al. 2017). What we do know is that globally, the health outcomes of LGBTIQ+ populations are poorer than that of heterosexual and/or cisgender populations (Zeeman 2019). At present, the University of Melbourne does not offer a subject or course with a focus on LGBTIQ+ health disparities.

    Research into levels of confidence and comfortability of health care providers when working with LGBTIQ+ people suggests that very few feel equipped to incorporate gender and sexuality into their assessment and treatment (Beemyn & Rankin, 2016). Most health care providers are simply not asking patients about their experiences of gender and sexuality, or assuming heterosexuality and cisgender identities of their patients (Haider et al. 2017). Further, LGBTIQ+ tertiary students themselves are subject to disproportionate rates of marginalisation, discrimination and harassment than their heterosexual, gender conforming peers (Braun et al., 2017; Waling & Roffee, 2018). In higher education, many faculty, staff and students have minimal knowledge and understanding of LGBTIQ+ issues, particularly where transgender and gender diverse students are concerned (Beemyn & Rankin, 2016). Many universities do not offer institutional support in developing these competencies at all, leaving staff and student activism to compensate. As a result of a lack of research and enquiry, many within tertiary institutions tend to engage in exclusionary practices, often without any intent to do so.

    Following an existing and evaluated model of delivery (Braun 2017), we see an interprofessional and interdisciplinary forum as an effective method for engaging students in LGBTIQ+ health care while embedding key objectives of MDHS learning and teaching strategies. Simple interventions such as the inclusion of one lecture and subsequent assessment on transgender health have been shown to decrease discomfort and increase skills for medical students engaging with transgender patients (Safer et al. 2013). We will draw on our existing relationships with community partners such as Transgender Victoria and Queerspace to fulfil a key learning objective: exposure to the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community.  A one-day forum, co-designed with student health care professionals from across the Faculty and championed by key Faculty staff would provide a robust learning experience for students who might not otherwise have access to LGBTIQ+ community health partners. By offering this forum to any student health practitioner within the faculty, we aim to bring together knowledges to foster a common goal: reducing health inequity for LGBTIQ+ populations.

  • Additional Resources

    The Basics

    Your guide to words and definitions in the LGBTQIA+ community | Minus18

    Trans 101 | Gender Diversity Crash Course

    What is intersex? | Intersex Human Rights Australia (

    What does it mean to be asexual? | Minus18

    Sistagals | Australia’s Indigenous Gay and Trans Communities

    Brotherboys Yarnin’ Up | Kai and Dean

    LGBTIQA+ and Faith Communities | Stories from UniMelb Staff and Students

    Pride in Action | University of Melbourne LGBTIQA+ Ally Network

    Resources for Researchers and Health Practitioners

    Wavelength: A resource for medical students on the basics of LGBTIQA+ health

    Trans Health Research: A resource for community, health practitioners and researchers on trans and gender diverse health

    Equinox: Accessible written guidelines and information on gender affirmation

    Intersex Human Rights Australia: Peak organisation for intersex advocacy, with plenty of resources ranging across health, ethics and law

    National LGBTI Health Alliance

    Making your Health Practice LGBTIQ+ Inclusive: Software that captures gender, sexuality and body diversit

    ACON Language Guide: Trans and Gender Diverse Inclusion

    GLAAD Transgender Media Program

    Intersex Awareness: University of Melbourne, Pride in Action Ally Network

MDHS LGBTIQ+ Health program is led
by Dr Megan Sharp and Dr Asiel Adan Sanchez.
Please contact them for more information.

Dr Megan Sharp
Researcher, MDHS Diversity And Inclusion
Co-Chair (Staff), Pride in Action Network

Dr Asiel Adan Sanchez
Academic, MDHS
GP Registrar, Northside Clinic